MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — City officials in Minneapolis are walking back a plan to hire six social media influencers to help push their message and prevent riots during the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

WCCO’s Christiane Cordero reports that the main factors in the city’s reconsideration is optics that city-issued information would attempt to sway public opinion and that the city was asked to pay its influencers.

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According to Cordero, city officials say the plan was never to influence opinion, so the choice of word was misleading. The goal, however, was to communicate transit, road and building closures.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis has connected directly with the city’s 70 neighborhood groups and will share information directly with them.

Last week, Minneapolis said the six influencers would be focused on messaging for the Black, Native American, Somali, Hmong and Latinx communities, with each influencer being paid a flat fee of $2,000.

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The decision was met with some criticism, with some activists and legal experts concerned about bias behind information that will come from a city-funded influencer.

Christiane Cordero